In the world of swimrun we always find interesting athlets. One german guy that has been competing frekvently during the last couple of years is Markus Rössel, from the team “German Sparkle Party“. We meet him after finishing this years Ö till Ö on Utö. Here is our interview with the Athlete, Journalist and so much more.
Tell me about your background as a Swimrunner?
I grew up in a pretty active household. Apparently my first spoken word was “ball”. My parents took me along on all kinds of outdoor undertakings such as hiking trips, skiing and so on. I had to spend countless weekends on tennis courts as they both played for a long time. Unexpectedly for a German kid I took on football and played this beside other sports such as mountain biking, table-tennis and skater-hockey for a pretty long time.
In my last junior football season I got called up to the senior squad but a very bad Mononucleosis infection knocked me out whilst on pre-season training. I suffered from that contamination for a full year. A good friend of mine was into triathlon and I decided to start training with him and the local Triathlon club to get back into shape for my first senior football season. Well, I never kicked a ball since then. I fell in love with endurance sports and the autonomy the training offers.
Best memory so far from racing?
When it comes to Swimrun racing there are way too many moments that stick out. If I have to name one moment it might be our very first SwimRun race back in 2014 at the maiden Ötillö Engadin Swimrun. It was so cold and harsh but yet such a distinctive and unique experience. I will always remember the look of my friend Fabian when he tried to exit Lej St. Moritz after the long swim section. We were both frozen to death and could hardly move our legs.
Until now we did not really discuss the forthcoming season. As I’m moving to Stockholm with my little family in April next year, chances are pretty high that I will be busy Swimrunning during the 2017 season. I hope that my buddies will be busy visiting us at our new home-base to get several Swimrun races in. There are plenty of interesting competitions in Sweden that I would love to do. Vasaloppet, Vansbrosimningen and the historic Kungsbackaloppet do attract me a lot. My family and I are looking forward to discover Sweden throughout all the seasons by kayak, skates, bike or just hiking. A proper winter is going to be very exciting. For myself I can not wait to go skating regularly. Last season we did some exciting Swimrun point-to-point missions and I would love to do more of these outings next year. That’s about as far as my planning goes.
Tell me more about your blog and Slowtwitch.com stuff?
When I moved to Ireland in 2006 I believed it was a decent idea to keep my family and friends back home updated about my sporting escapades. As the renowned Irish weather and the local sporting facilities did not really motivate me to continue with Triathlon training I switched my emphasis to running. The Irish running scene is fantastic and I had a great group of people to train with on the roads, throughout the fells and in the local pubs. This entire blog thing basically grew out of this and is a document of my journeys, training, competitions, equipment and personalities I’m interested in. Shockingly it still is a lot of fun and people seem to be fascinated by the jabber I subscribe. I’m curious and fascinated by a lot of topics; my blog is a fine channel for all of this I guess.
Occasionally I write for magazines and newspapers. While I was in Brazil in 2012 I did my first story for Slowtwitch.com when I spend a day with the great Oscar Galindez in his hometown of Santos (see links down at the end of the article). As the editor is a fellow German and glad to feature my rants, Slowtwitch.com is a brilliant outlet to show the endurance sphere what Swimrun has to offer. The feedback I get is very encouraging and it is nice to hear that a lot of people actually tried the Sport because of the articles. It takes quite something to persuade Triathletes to swim in shoes and jog in a wetsuit.
The German Sparkle Party crew – what is it? Always same buddies or….
My long-time friend and training mate Fabian and I came up with the notion of a ÖtillÖ bid. We both knew the contest and were looking for another undertaking. ÖtillÖ appeared to be the fundamental Bromance. We applied for the race back in 2014 and luckily got a slot. Whilst we finalized the initial application for the competition we required a team name. In the same year the two of us had been to Ironman Hawaii to support a friend and party hard. A Canadian buddy of us parodied us with the “German Sparkle Party” tune by the group The Something Experience. We love to take the piss out of all these bizarre German preconceptions. This song and the theme emerged to be picture-perfect for what we applied for. To use a gorilla for the team-emblem was the obvious and you will understand fully once you observe Fabian topless.
After Fabian misdirected his weeding the week after last year’s ÖtillÖ our good friend Knut came into play as he fits in perfectly when it comes to competing and trash-talking. I think we found a great arrangement of serious racing without being to eager. We never overlook the fun part of team racing. Only when you have fun you will race fast. This is essential and something people should always remember as an essence of Swimrun. Personally it was great to see that all the winning squads at this year’s ÖtillÖ are uniquely great individuals and generally friends amongst themselves. This is what I value in Swimrun.
Do you have a bucketlist of races you like to do? In case which ones and why?
I’m constantly up for a journey so my bucket list is not really set in stone. The Tour Divide, Comrades, Cape Epic, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, Elbrus Skyrace or Coast to Coast are races that I would like to do in the future. I also think that the Inferno Triathlon and Powerman Zofingen is something that needs to be raced eventually. But it needs to be the right race at the right time that fires me up in training. Hence Swimrun is still top of my list. The whole idea inspires me a lot and I enjoy the combination of the two sports and racing with a good friend. As pointed out earlier on I also love to do tours without the pressure of a competition. To run the Bob Graham Round, the path of the Ehunmilak, the Dragon’s Back race or the Lavaredo Ultra Trail with some of my friends would be incredible and something that I really value. Together with a good friend I jogged the trails of the Transvulcania Ultramarathon and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. It was a pleasure to fully soak in these surroundings. But who knows what’s around the corner? As a delighted father of a new-born son I think I have quite some adventures waiting for me.
Text: Daniel Becker & Markus Rössel